Guest Blog: An introduction to physiotherapy for the Equine Athlete. Emma Green
Over the years physiotherapy for the equine athlete has become more popular, and because we learn more as owners and ask our horses to achieve greater things, the importance of physiotherapy has only been enhanced.
Like any human athlete, the horse benefits hugely from physiotherapy. As a veterinary physiotherapist, I work with each horse to aid the longitudinal (flexion and extension of the spine) and lateral bend (lateral and sideways flexion), working to strengthen and condition bones and joints, aid mobility and support the deep and superficial muscular structures of the whole body.
The equine body creates motion with the use of over seven hundred muscles, coupled with ligaments and tendons. These are all covered with a ‘spider web’ like connective tissue called fascia.
The skeletal muscles are divided into two groups, deep and superficial. The deep muscles are attached directly to bone and are often supporting joints. The superficial muscles lay between the deep muscles and the fascia.
It is so important to protect and care for the muscles correctly because groups of muscles are either supporting a joint, creating a movement, stabilising a large skeletal structure or absorbing concussion when stood or with every single stride.
A fantastic example of this is that the front limb of the horse is not attached to the body through a skeletal structure. It is attached to the horse’s body by groups of muscles and connective tissue.
Often owners think of muscles being needed for power and to enable the horse to carry out the job asked of it, however, muscle structures are required for simple tasks such as posture and attaching structures in the body together.
Fascia is often never spoken of, however, this amazing structure connects the entire body, entwining with every muscle and bone. Its job is to provide support and act as a shock absorber. When strained the fascia tightens and can create soreness, stiffness and can even restrict movement.
As a physiotherapist I work through the horse’s body, manipulating the skeletal structures, mobilising the fascia, reducing soreness throughout the muscles and therefore enabling the best performance from the equine athlete.
In my opinion no equine athlete should be without it.
E Green Animal Physiotherapy was set up by Emma Green after twenty five years working within the equine industry. Emma qualified with a BSc degree in Equine Science and Management in 2004 and went on to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in Veterinary Physiotherapy, specialising in equine and canine physiotherapy.
Emma furthered her education by studying equine chiropractory techniques allowing her to offer skeletal manipulation techniques and gaining her qualification in equine kinesiology taping.
Emma offers the highest standard of veterinary physiotherapy and is accredited by the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP), and the International Association of Animal Therapists (IAAT).
Further details can be found on my website www.egreenanimalphysio.co.uk
To find a physiotherapist within your area visit the register of musculoskeletal skeletal practitioners www.rampregister.org
RAMP ensure that every member is fully qualified, insured, works with veterinary referral and continues with professional development through their career.